Everest Base Camp ain't walk in the park

Trip Start Oct 08, 2007
Trip End Dec 16, 2008

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Everest Base Camp. Check! That being said, this wasn't the easiest thing I've done in my life. I came back 5kg lighter and fitter than I've been in my entire life. Perhaps stubbornly refusing to hire a porter and caring my 12 kg backpack all the way had something to do with it, although it is quite possible that the no-alcohol diet enhanced by my lack of appetite above 5,000m, and the uphill trek had it's share. I made the trek to EBC in 8 days and made it back to Lukla in 3.   
The trip starts off as a very pleasant trek through spectacular scenery. The sun is shining and the skies are blue. It's picture perfect. However, as soon as the sun goes down, the temperature drops down to around 0C, and much below 0C as you get closer to EBC. I've never been so cold in my life. The lodges are not heated, so I was not particularly looking forward to going to bed. I was taking the camera batteries with me in the sleeping bag to preserve them from discharging from the cold. One of the memory cards froze up and I lost some pictures. Around Dingboche (4,410m) I developed an annoying cough from the cold and the dust. Not much grows above 4,000 meters and the trek gets dusty. At the same time, the air becomes thinner. The air at EBC is half the density of the air at sea level.
Everyone's concern was High Altitude Sickness, which is at it's best a big headache and at it's worse lethal. There is no telling who is fit for high altitude and who is not. Turned out - I was good to go. There is no cure for the altitude sickness other than going down quickly, preferably over 1,000m. Some guys couldn't go past 4,500m. My guide, a self confident asshole who I clearly didn't get along with, actually got sick with the altitude right before EBC, so I had to do the last leg of the trek by myself. Then we had to rush back to safe his sorry ass. His pain was mostly self inflicted, as he was smoking and probably drinking way beyond Namche Bazar (3,480m) where most people have their last drink and smoke.
Luckily, there were tones of people doing the same trek, so I actually had a really fun time. I met many fun people from all over the world, many eastern Europeans and even a Bulgarian guy who was traveling solo. My favorite of all people - Nikita and Jenia, free spirited Russian guys that were headed to Gokio - a trek less traveled, but allegedly prettier than EBC. We had many drinks and some smokes together in Namche and later in Kathmandu, which had disastrous, but thankfully temporary effects on my health. I've never had such a solid prove that alcohol and cigarettes are bad for you. I have not had a cigarette since Kathmandu.   
Enough of this blubbering. Hope you enjoy the pictures without freezing your chops.
Yak cheez, Vik

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seadog on

Well done!
Super pix! Keep them coming. May I suggest a) some advice based on experience to the prospective traveler i.e. what would/wouldn't you do differently if you had known better b) a bit more info to the pics i.e. what are prayer wheels for, which is the peak peaking from the background (unless it is just a hilltop) ...

orizarska on

Re: Well done!
Hey there and thanks for reading my blog! Your suggestions are very good. Unfortunately, I have only one year to go round the world, which means I spend more time on the road than in front of a computer. I would like to give more info out, but I usually update the blog from that random internet cafe, while the power is about to go off. I promise to be more informative in the feature.

If I had to do one thing different on the Everest Base Camp trek, I would have brought coughing drops and something to cover my nose/mouth - it gets very dusty as you go up and everyone comes back with a cough. I came back with a very bad cough.

Anu on

Hi, very lucid and simple, yet effectively written !!!

have a few questions:

1. I am planning to take the EBC this December 2010. Do you recommend December as a good month to undertake this trek?

2. Are their any tour operators whom you would recommend?

3. Did you carry your own food, or were there decent food available at the tea stalls?


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